Pennsic 2004 Diary: Sunday, August 22

1227.61 +
19.16: gas
9.84: lunch (D and I)
6.40: toll
11.78: supper (D and I)
50.00: hotel
2.81: snack (D and I)
= 1327.60

8:25 pm

Where to start? Last night was incredibly cold. Of course, as per Murphy’s law, I had already packed all my wool socks. I wound up sleeping in the fetal position all night, but at least I did sleep.

This morning dawned clear, cold, and foggy. Watching the sun hit the morning mist through the trees in the forest was ethereal… beautiful. Just a last reminder of Pennsic magic for the road.

We finally finished packing at about 12:30. It was frustrating experience, with both D and I snappish and tired. D’s ankles and knees were hurting, and I keep getting frustrated at him for taking too long. Suffice to say, I’m glad it’s over. I wound up throwing out my tarp, because I didn’t want the aggravation of drying and airing out a 10 x 20 tarp in my backyard. The next time I go to Pennsic, I’ll just get another one. I’ll have to set up my tent at home in any case — the bottom is completely soaked. In the end, though, we got everything into the car in about a half hour, and it all fit beautifully.

After lunch in Butler, we hit the highway at about 1:30. We’ve been listening to my new CDs all day. Some songs are actually really funny, but after 6 hours, I was getting fairly tired of vocals with guitar accompaniment.

Which brings us to now. I’m sitting in a hotel room in Brewerton, NY (noticing a trend in place-names here?). Again, CAA was my friend: got a $10 discount or so off the room rate. I’m in a stuffed armchair. I’ve had fast food twice today (3 times if you count a snack). I’ve paid for the gas and D’s meals, he chipped in $40 for the hotel room. He has no cash left, only traveler’s checks. I’ll recommend he changes them tomorrow before we leave. Other things about this hotel room:

  • I don’t know what the weather is outside
  • I can’t hear my neighbours cursing at their kids (yes, they did — all War long)
  • there is lighting after dark that doesn’t come from a flashlight, lantern, or tikis
  • hot water! (haven’t actually showered yet, I’m letting D go first)

These are all things I will have reacquaint myself with. I’m going through reverse culture-shock. I nearly called the woman at reception “m’lady”. She thought it was funny when I told her.

I’m in mundane clothes. Putting on jeans was obnoxious, and I’m going to have to get used to wearing running shoes again. The bites on my feet hurt — I’ve got 4 or 5 per foot. I suspect they’re spider bites, but I’m not 100% sure. It would be my luck, though: no mosquito bites, but 10 spider bites.

I realize I haven’t been on the computer for 2 weeks. Knowing me, it will be one of the first things I check when I get home, but hey, I’m addicted. At least I went through the two week withdrawal period.

I don’t want to turn on the TV. That, I think, will be the last sign Pennsic is over — the ever-p[resent, blaring TV. Maybe I’ll write poetry or something instead.

This Pennsic has been different from the last in a number of ways:

  • camp was vastly different, which made the whole flavour of War different
  • I had a purpose: bardic. Consequently, I was able to put my precious little time to productive use.
  • I met a lot more people. Especially important to me are the Pennsic Bards (Michael Alewright et al.) and the Eoforwicians (potentially my future home). Even though I only met them this week, I now think of many of them as friends. Many even live close enough that I’ll probably see them at events.
  • I spent about as much money shopping this year as last year, but must less on knickknacks and trivialities. I got many presents and some big things for myself (wench garb, sheepskin, banner stand, CDs, etc.) I think I did better shopping this year, knowing both what I wanted and where I could get it.
  • I took many less classes this year (except when it was raining). Seeing people was often more important.

Another note: it was really nice to do bardic with other bards. It was especially nice to be recognized as having some skill. Thank you to everyone who let me sing at you!

It seems my offering to the gods (1 1/2 cookies yesterday for 36 hours of good weather) has worked. We packed up with no problems and today has been clear all day. Now, I don’t take credit for the whole thing, but at least my little part helped.

Incidentally: spider bites, almost certainly. You can almost see the path it walked on my foot, biting as it went. And nowhere else on my body is bitten at all. For some reason, I almost always get spider bites (when I get them) on my feet. I’ve counted 10 so far on my right foot (ie: the driving foot). This makes driving unpleasant at best. Wait — make that 13. Sigh. When do they get a chance to eat so much?!? Are my feet a buffet?!? Sigh. Just grin and bear it, I suppose. At least they’re not on the bottoms of my feet. Thanks for small favours. Maybe this is what I get for trying to influence the gods.

I don’t know what to write right now. Pennsic is over. I have songs to learn, people to correspond with, journal entries to type, and loads of gear to unpack. I’m looking forward to seeing my family and friends, sleeping in my own bed… but I still somehow wish Pennsic weren’t over. It’s a truly magical place where you can share a Dream with 13,000 friends.

10 pm

Just had a shower. Mmm… I feel almost human. I haven’t got all the dirt off my feet, but I’ve made a good start. I was singing in the shower — mostly songs to which I only know half the lyrics. Frustrating. I’ll just have to learn the words.

Things I wanted to do this War but didn’t:

  • go to the classic swimming hole
  • sing for my supper at Bard’s Haven
  • buy the perfect gift for Ian (bought many imperfect gifts, but that’s different)
  • find out more about yurts
  • learn tablet weaving or buy a loom to teach myself
  • more classes!
  • lead the Boreal Army into battle with Chiara’s song

But, all in all, I did pretty much everything I really wanted. I realized, though, that it is probably impossible to do everything I want at Pennsic — it’s just too big. It’s like the old adage: “You can’t have everything you want, but you can have anything you want.” Pennsic is like that, too.

I’m slowly shifting back into mundane mindset. I’m thinking about GREs and grad school, about this semester’s workload, about unpacking and settling into daily life, about my friends and gaming. (Incidentally: I saw people playing Magic: the Gathering at Pennsic. C’mon, people! Look around you! You’re living in a place as close to Magic as you’re going to find! Enjoy it!) Mundania reappears in my thoughts. I wish I could keep it at bay, at least until tomorrow, but I know I can’t, now that I’ve started. It was a good two-week hiatus, though.

It’s only 10, but there’s not much to do. Neither D nor I want the TV on, and I’ve said most of what’s been on my mind today. I may just go to sleep early. (10 hours of sleep? Crazy!) I’m bored — a sure sign Pennsic is over (or, this year, raining. But now it’s over, not raining. I can’t even pretend now, in my hotel room.)

G’night, or something. See you next year.

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